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When it comes to the perfect family dog, the Golden Retriever ticks all the boxes. So beloved is this canine friend, that it has remained the number one most popular dog since 1991, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC).
This cheery outgoing breed provides the perfect companion. Good around children and other animals, its friendly nature and desire to please its owners, also makes it easy to train.
The first known Golden Retriever was born among a batch of coal-black siblings in mid-1860s Scotland, by aristocrat Lord Tweedmout.
Combined with the genes of an Irish setter, a Labrador retriever, and a Newfoundland, ‘Golden’s’ as they are affectionately dubbed, evolved through the generations. They were finally recognized as an official breed by the AKC in 1925 and have remained popular ever since.
Members of the ‘gundog’ group they were originally bred to find and retrieve game. This remains a noticeable trait, since the Golden loves nothing more than playing a game of fetch, or going for a swim in the great outdoors.
Known for their beauty and alert and buyout stance, Golden Retrievers are distinguished by their thick golden coat, which is water repellent. Despite its name, it can be; yellow, cream, blonde, gold and even red in color.
There are small differences in cultural breeds. The British Golden Retriever, often seen throughout Europe and Australia, has a broader skull, light-colored coat and round dark eyes.
American breeds tend to be longer and less muscular with darker coats and eyes that are more slanted or ‘triangular’. Finally, the Canadian version is the tallest of all, displaying a thinner and somewhat darker coat,
Overall, this is a medium size muscular dog, with a broad head, pendant ears, and a long snout with a black nose.
Anyone who owns a Golden Retriever will tell you that they are trustworthy and affectionate and great around children.
Due to their inherently kind nature, Golden’s were bred to be extremely good-natured and remain true to form. They are trustworthy and sociable dogs, that love nothing more than being around others.
This has led to them having an important role as therapy dogs and leader dogs for the blind. Their well-developed noses also make them an excellent choice for search and rescue.
They can be taken anywhere in public, and with adequate training, are reliably well-behaved. Their laid-back disposition is one quality that makes them so attractive as service dogs.
People-pleasers through and through, this makes them easy to train, since they love being of service to their owners. Their joy in work, precision, and devotion are all evident in their behavior, and they positively excel in agility and sports training, especially swimming. Resultantly, they were the very first AKC obedience trial champions.
As a sociable dog, Golden Retrievers can experience separation anxiety when left alone. Plenty of daily exercise will help temper this; and be prepared – they need lots of it!
Their coats also need lots of care to maintain, and due to their love of running around and jumping in the water, they may need to be bathed more than other breeds.
Possible Health Concerns
Although generally healthy, Retrievers like most dogs of their size, can be prone to hip dysplasia – an abnormality of the joints.
Although minor, they may also suffer from hypothyroidism – a thyroid deficiency, and eye disorders, as well as tumors and seizures.
A hunting dog at heart, your Golden will need plenty of outdoor activity and exercise. This is a dog that will play ‘fetch’ all day every day, and being a water dog, is prone to jumping in and out of rivers, lakes, puddles and anything that constitutes a good swim!
They make great walking, running and cycling companions, and thanks to their coat tolerate all weather well.
Ideally, owners will have an outdoor space that is fenced off, since they can be curious creatures too. They are not the best suited dog to indoor apartments.
Make sure you are giving your Golden a high-quality diet, filled with lots of protein, appropriate for their age. Some Golden’s are prone to obesity, so it’s necessary to watch their caloric intake. If using treats as rewards for training, do so sparingly, as they are known for their appetite! Consult your vet with any questions regarding your Golden’s diet.
This is a relatively high-maintenance dog when it comes to grooming. Golden Retrievers tend to heavily shed their coats once or twice a year. During these periods it will be necessary to brush them daily to help remove the dead hair. During low-shedding months, it’s a good practice to brush your golden a few times a week to limit hair around the house.
They need bathing nail cutting and bathing monthly, or more if they’ve been out in the mud.
Ears should be checked and cleaned weekly to prevent irritations or wax build up, using a cotton wool and a dog-appropriate solution.
Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular pet dog in America with good reason.
This ever-smiling, desperate to please pup is loving beyond bounds. Their kind and gentle disposition makes them popular as service and therapy dogs, as well as great family companions. Their ability to learn also sees them excel at obedience training, often winning top awards for their agility.
But with a natural hunting instinct, this is a dog that needs plenty of exercise and outdoor space. If you can fulfill this need, you will have the most loyal and devoted friend you could ever ask for!